Tax Credit Program Highlight: First National Bank of Stephenville

Stephenville, Erath County



Individually listed in National Register of Historic Places

Historic Use

Bank, offices

Current Use


Total Rehabilitation Cost


Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses


Date Certified

March 23, 2016


Also certified for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits


The First National Bank building housed the very first bank in Stephenville. Designed by San Antonio architect James Riely Gordon, this Romanesque Revival building is one of the oldest structures remaining in downtown. Thought to have been completed in 1889 when the bank was initially founded, this date has been challenged by a reference to a newspaper article that implies a construction date of 1891; however, a fire destroyed the paper’s early archives and a copy of this article cannot be found. The building itself was damaged by a fire in 1897, which led to reconstruction of the front turret. When First National Bank merged with Farmers National Bank in 1925, they vacated the building, removing most of the historic features. Portions of the teller screen remain in private hands in town. Subsequent occupants included the Stephenville Telephone Exchange and a local attorney.

Rehabilitation Project

This project represents a comprehensive, but conservative rehabilitation, of the property including restoration of interior historic elements. Exterior stone masonry and the decorative copper turret roof were cleaned and repaired, and the historic wood windows throughout were carefully restored. A new concrete entrance ramp was installed at the side elevation of the building in order to provide ADA-required access without negatively affecting the building’s character. The interior retained excellent integrity, which required only simple repairs of existing beadboard ceilings and wood floors. The original raised plaster frieze from the banking hall was discovered above a dropped ceiling, although it was crumbling and partially removed. As a crowning touch, the owners restored a section of the plaster frieze that was in good condition, and used decorative painting techniques to interpret the missing portions of the frieze.

In 2019 a second project was undertaken through the state historic tax credit program which addressed water damage that had occured since completion of the work described above. This included plaster and wall repair, window sash replacement, and installation of new mechanical equipment at the roof. Previously undetected roof leaks were found and sealed to prevent further damage to the building below.

Photo Gallery

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  • The historic metal and stone components of the building's exterior were carefully cleaned and repaired.